Blue Jays must deal with Bonds

Miguel Batista, the resident philosopher king of the Toronto Blue Jays, believes it’s best to hold the bravado when it comes to facing Barry Bonds.
Unlike Baltimore Orioles starter Sidney Ponson, who boldly said he would go after Bonds before pitching against him Sunday, Batista issues no such bluster about taking on the game’s most feared hitter.
Instead, he describes a sensible approach to dealing with Bonds—advice he’ll take to the mound tonight when the Jays resume interleague play in San Francisco against the Giants.
“One of the keys to success in pitching is knowing when to challenge a hitter and when not,” said Batista. “If you don’t have to challenge him, then why? Walk him.
“But if there’s nobody on, a situation where what he does isn’t going to hurt you if he hits a home run, you should go right at him.”
Facing Bonds has been a nightmare haunting National League pitchers all season. He’s batting .376 with 18 homers and 39 RBIs while sporting a ridiculous on-base percentage of .628.
Many teams have opted not to pitch to him at all. Bonds already has walked 88 times—an astonishing 48 of them intentionally.
To put that in perspective, Bonds has more intentional walks than every team in the majors and holds a 48-46 edge over the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, and Blue Jays combined.
“If the game is not on the line, you have to pitch to him, you can’t be afraid of him,” said Batista. “You can always be careful, but you can’t be afraid.”
Ponson wasn’t afraid of Bonds on Sunday, but he wasn’t careful, either. Bonds went 2-for-4 with a homer, three RBIs, and a walk in San Francisco’s 7-3 win.
Batista gained a fair amount of experience facing Bonds as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks the past three seasons. He’s 4-5 in his career versus the Giants while Bonds is 7-for-23 against him, with four homers, two doubles and seven RBIs.
“A lot of people might be afraid to pitch to him but I’m so used to it, I don’t care anymore,” said Batista. “He’s just another hitter, [but] you can’t afford to make too many mistakes because he doesn’t forgive very easily.”
The Blue Jays know that, but they don’t plan to back down from him completely. They’ll treat Bonds like any other dangerous hitter they face.
“If he comes up with nobody on and we have a five-run lead, then you definitely pitch to him,” said general manager J.P. Ricciardi. “If he comes up with runners on first and second and a three-run lead, maybe you don’t pitch to him.
“The situation dictates that.”
Batista (4-4) will have to keep the runs down with Jason Schmidt (7-2) getting the call for the Giants (32-31) in tonight’s series opener.
The Jays (28-35) continue to have a tough time scoring as they try to survive a rash of injuries and climb back to .500. The Jays are 6-6 this month, including 3-3 in interleague play.